Volunteer fire department returns to 'status quo'

Photo by David Kapitan

Wills Point Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ed Leipply addressed a room of his fellow firefighters June 22 explaining his position that the ESD board had overstepped its jurisdiction emphatically stating, “I am still the chief of the WPVFD. The members of the WPVFD remain intact. Citizens of the area serviced by ESD #4, we have you covered.”

Days of uncertainty about the fate of Wills Point Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ed Leipply and the status of the WPVFD and its relationship with Emergency Services District #4 were put to rest at least temporarily last week after a series of meetings essentially resulted in all parties pushing the reset button.

ESD Meeting – June 20

Questions about both Leipply and the WPVFD came to the forefront early last week after the ESD board’s published agenda for their June 20 meeting included holding a potential vote of no confidence on the chief.

The emotionally charged meeting included eight people speaking during the public comment portion of the agenda in hopes of keeping the vote of no confidence from not happening at all or going in Leipply’s favor. Despite those efforts, a vote of no confidence was conducted with ESD board members Joe Arnold, Chuck Jennings, Jimmy Blasingame and Becky Monning all voting of removing Leipply and Ken Byrd casting the lone vote to keep Leipply in charge of the WPVFD.

The board’s decision was not met favorably by those in attendance, with Leipply requesting legal documentation explaining the reason for his removal and volunteer firefighters in attendance announcing their intention of leaving the department effective immediately unless Leipply was reinstated to the chief’s position. Heated discussions ensued, leading to several meeting interruptions as well a lengthy post-meeting conversation that included both board members and firefighters. 

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